I could not stay in the library today. The old, empty building so barren, its only shelves full the one’s we filled from the branch library at Shelter Ridge.
I got in my SUV and drove around, first around town then out in the country. I love bigger cities, love the ability to be able to sit and watch people go by, to get a beer and a book and just watch the world go by. But nothing beats a small town for sudden quiet. One moment, the entire town is on top of you, then the doors and windows shut and even the birds ceased chirping, as if the world around you understood you need a moment to think.
That does not mean someone is not watching, of course. Someone is always watching.
I was in the woods of East Bannville, remembering a long ago summer when someone’s parents were out of town. Teenage bodies in motion, clad in the smallest clothes and filled with liquor and courage. Boys and girls playing at being men and women. My mind traveled back to those times as my body traveled forward, slow and steady around the old curves of the country roads.
The car came from behind me, lights flashing. The bright sun, common down here in summer, winter and all times in between, hid the attempts to get my attention for a while until I happened to look back.
Brook Springer rolled next to me, her pretty yellow hair dangling as she craned her neck out to yell at me.
“Evan, what the hell you doing coming out here without coming by my house?”
“Was I near your place, Brook?” I said, looking around, “Must have gotten lost. Seems like its been forever since I had some of your pecan pie.”
“Uh huh,” she said, “why don’t you come back to the house and we’ll see about that.”
We turned around and I followed her back. We sat on her porch all afternoon, the wind cool and whipping the steam that coiled around the ice cream from the pie Brook heated for our afternoon snack. We talked about the weather, how hot it was only a day off Halloween, about the old days, times past. The porch felt good, as good as porches should be. As the sun began to hit the trees, Brook’s husband Wade drove in, his pickup bouncing with three little heads seated beside his. I shook his head and waved at their little girls, but they hid behind their daddy’s legs.
Brook offered to set a place for me for dinner. I thought about it, wanted to, but something made me leave.
Ever have the feeling somebody’s been waiting to ask you a question for a long time and were right on the verge? Brook’s house felt like that. Slow desperation, a want and need that I could not put my finger on.
I stopped by the library on my way home, just to check the doors. They were locked tight, just as I had left them. Still, I had a feeling...